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Cameron selling local operations to Ingersoll

Cameron International Corp.’s Cheektowaga operations are headed for new ownership.

Houston-based Cameron said Monday that it had agreed to sell its Centrifugal Compression Division to Ingersoll Rand for about $850 million, a deal expected to be completed by year’s end.

Cameron has about 584 employees at its Broadway manufacturing plant, plus an additional 35 workers at 300 Airborne Parkway, for a total of 619, according to documents the company recently filed with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

News of the deal ended months of speculation about who would buy the division. “There’s just a sense of relief that people finally know who it is,” said an employee who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to comment. The Broadway plant has also endured layoffs this year, in the face of slower orders.

Jack B. Moore, Cameron’s chairman, president and CEO, visited the Broadway plant Monday to announce the pending sale to employees.

“The leadership team at Ingersoll Rand is impressed with the people, technology and performance of the Centrifugal Compression Division and sees a strong strategic fit for their business,” Moore said in a statement. “I’d like to thank our centrifugal employees for their many contributions to Cameron and wish them well at Ingersoll Rand.”

The Centrifugal Compression Division generated sales of about $400 million last year, Cameron said. Its Broadway site designs and makes air and gas compressors for applications including industrial plants.

Peter Cooney, a business agent with Lodge 330, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said that hourly workers are hopeful the type of products the Cheektowaga site manufactures will make the plant valuable in Ingersoll Rand’s eyes. “We’ll have to wait and see how it affects everything,” Cooney said.

Ingersoll Rand is based in Ireland, and its North American headquarters are in Davidson, N.C. In 2013, the company reported net income of $619 million on revenues of $12.35 billion.

In a Monday conference call, Michael W. Lamach, the company’s chairman and CEO, called the deal a “once-in-a-multiple-generation opportunity” with several benefits to Ingersoll Rand’s industrial air compressor business.

“It will substantially expand the breadth of our product range and markets and customer base,” Lamach said. “It also enhances our engineering capabilities in large, highly configured compressor applications. Cameron adds attractive, fast-growing end markets, such as air separation and power generation, to our business.”

Comparing the two companies’ compression capabilities, Lamach called their product lines “very complementary, with very little overlap.” Cheektowaga is home to the largest share of the Cameron division’s 850 employees, who are spread across 12 locations globally.

The pending deal marks a new chapter for the Broadway facility, which was once the home of Joy Manufacturing. In 1987, Cooper Industries bought Joy and formed the Cooper Turbocompressor Division. The parent company changed its name to Cameron from Cooper Cameron in 2006.

Cameron previously filed an application with the ECIDA seeking tax breaks for up to $6.5 million in improvements that it plans to make at the Broadway complex.

Earlier this year, Cameron sold another of its divisions – reciprocating compression – to General Electric for $550 million.